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Biography

Guide

You may want to know something about me. Foremost, I’ve a passion for travel, history and heritage. With the benefit of hindsight, my providing driver/guided tours seems predestined! There’s a family history of venturing ‘far afield’ to different places both at home and abroad.

I was born in Rochdale near Manchester, a Lancashire mill town in NW England built on cotton in Victorian times, imported from the US and textile and other machinery exported to the world. It sits in a river valley surrounded by beautiful moorland, nestling in the Pennines, the ‘backbone’ of England. I cherished my roots but always wanted to know what lay beyond ‘them there hills’.  

My Great Uncle Cobden, a Welsh mining engineer emigrated to New Mexico in the late 1800s. He recounted the history and culture of the local native Americans, tales of which I listened to with awe as he reminisced back when I visited him back in Wales in the 1960’s when he was in 90s!

Uncle Derek, an RAF pilot in WWII, sailed to S Africa, avoided prowling U boats, flew Spitfires in N Africa and Italy and was posted to France just after D day. He went into a US Army hospital with recurring malaria, then on to Northern Ireland training new pilots before ending the war in the far east.

These adventures made me hungry to see the wider world. My own travelling started early. Dad had a motorbike and sidecar. I faced backwards in the rear seat journeying across Britain on holiday! We’d visit castles, stately homes, gardens, cathedrals etc. This rubbed off on me.

Dad then swapped the bike for a car, a Jowett Javelin, a limousine to rival Jaguar (including the polished walnut fascia). We’d join fellow owner enthusiasts in the Yorkshire Dales for rallies. I navigated, finding the quickest route and answers to cryptic clues at map reference points. We were quite a team and often won!

My appetite for travel was further wetted by staying with families in twin towns in France and Germany, then  an educational Mediterranean cruise and continental holidays. At 18, like Dick Whittington (who actually existed) I went to London. I studied at university but took every opportunity to visit the capital’s many sights.

On graduation, a coast to coast road trip across the US followed.  I’ve since been back several times and to Canada. Thereafter, my market research career took me round the entire UK, mixing business with sightseeing whenever possible, as I continue to do.

I lived in York for several years, a walled city since Roman and Viking times. I currently live near Nottingham (of Robin Hood fame). In my spare time, I’m in a ‘not for profit’ travel club, organising short breaks at home and abroad for members. I am also a member of the National Trust and English Heritage, custodians of the country’s historic monuments, buildings and places.

In the 90s, I had a succession of consultancy contracts in Central Europe, helping countries transform from Soviet to the European Union, working in cities like Prague, Budapest and Riga, putting the weekends to good use whilst there, seeing all the sights I could.

I enjoy performing arts, particularly theatre and live music, which I seek out whenever I have a free evening. England has many outdoor festivals and plays, often in beautiful country settings.

A family man, with four grown up children, at the turn of the millennium, I mused about my working future. After much thought, I realised my travel expertise and knowledge would be ideal for a customised driver/guided tour venture, appealing to North American visitors and those from else where.

Finding out peoples interests, planning an itinerary, accompanying and getting to know them is a wonderful vocation which I find tremendously fulfilling. Facilitating an unforgettable experience and sharing it is a privilege and a pleasure. There’s never a dull moment.

So, here’s my website offering you a hassle-free, richer travel experience than you would have thought possible. If you want to know more, I’d love to hear from you. To use an English expression you may know, why not have ‘more fun than you can shake a stick at’?!   

John Greenwood

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